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charleston history

On January 1, 1882, Mayor William A. Courtenay created the Charleston Fire Department

Longleaf pine trees (Pinus palustris) once covered some 90 million acres in the Southeastern United States, including much of South Carolina. Living for up to 250 years and reaching as tall as 110 feet, these conifers created one of the most species-rich ecosystems in the country. But due to factors including over-harvesting, development, and the suppression of the natural fires that for centuries helped to maintain these complex habitats, only about three percent of the original longleaf pine forest remains. Luckily, the Alabama-based Longleaf Alliance is making great strides toward restoration throughout the region, and here in the Lowcountry, progress is underway around the Francis Marion National Forest and beyond

In this photograph, taken on Christmas Eve 1937, pedestrians are beckoned by lower King’s window displays

In this circa-1945 photograph, WAVES Specialists 3rd class Nora Scott and Virginia Chenoweth are at work in the control tower at Naval Air Station Charleston

A glimpse at a bustling, early 20th-century Charleston

Looking back at early Lowcountry hurricanes

The Charleston Museum’s 19th-century curator, Gabriel E. Manigault, masterfully prepared dozens of skeletons now on view in a special exhibit

A quick look back at Isle of Palms history

Calling out his creative seafood sales pitches, huckster and political provocateur Joe Cole became a cultural institution in 19th-century Charleston

As a whole, South Carolinians (and plenty of vacationers who fall in love with this place) adore our state flag. We wear renderings of it on clothing and accessories, stick it to car bumpers, and incorporate it into company logos. For some, it’s merely about that pretty palmetto tree and its crescent ”moon,” but many love it for its history. They know that in 1775, Colonel (later General) William Moultrie designed a flag for his American patriots consisting of a white crescent on a solid blue background—the color of his men’s uniforms. That banner was waving over tiny Fort Sullivan on June 28, 1776, when Moultrie’s troops defeated the British at the Battle of Sullivan’s Island, with a good deal of help from the native palmettos. In honor of Carolina Day, here’s more about our fascinating flag

Ninety years after the untimely death of Edmund Thornton Jenkins, Spoleto Festival USA premieres his unfinished operetta, Afram ou La Belle Swita. Learn more about the son of the world-renowned Jenkins Orphanage Band founder who became one of the first American composers to merge musical nuances of the black South with the concert traditions of Europe and quite possibly helped inspire the music of Porgy and Bess

 

An enthralling new novel brings the history of a Charleston landmark to life

Towering over 65 feet high, this majestic Southern live oak (Quercus virginiana) is said to be the oldest living thing east of the Mississippi River, having survived for some 400 or 500 years, though some claim it’s existed for as many as 1,500. To put that in perspective, the tree’s magnificent branches were likely providing shade on John’s Island before the Mayflower arrived in Plymouth

Berkeley County’s boozy history as a corn-liquor capital during prohibition

 

For a century, turkey buzzards reigned over the Market. So what finally forced the iconic creatures to flee their favorite streets?

The Waring Historical Library’s portrait project

Nancy Stevenson made South Carolina history as lieutenant governor